Christ’s Hospital Choral Society offers choral workshop

Christ’s Hospital Choral Society is offering the chance to tackle one of the greats with a choral workshop coming up.
Christ’s Hospital Choral Society - photo by Emela SisicChrist’s Hospital Choral Society - photo by Emela Sisic
Christ’s Hospital Choral Society - photo by Emela Sisic

As spokeswoman Esther Clark says: “Anyone who loves singing is likely to dream of singing in a big choral piece, and much bigger than Haydn’s Creation is hard to find. Yet, on May 4 people will have exactly this opportunity when they can join a workshop hosted by Christ’s Hospital Choral Society. The day will be led by the school’s head of music James Bartlett.

‘The Creation was written towards the end of Joseph Haydn’s life (1732-1809) and was described as a sensation from the very first performance, in Vienna in 1799. Inspired by Handel’s music and John Milton’s poem Paradise Lost, it describes the creation of the world as narrated in Genesis. Interestingly, while the original text was in German, when the oratorio was first published in 1800 it was with the words in both German and English.

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“Haydn was not born into a particularly musical family, but it was noticed at an early stage that he was extremely talented, and aged six he was apprenticed to study music – harpsichord, violin and voice – in Hamburg.

"He would never live with his parents again. Two years later his singing had been noticed and he was brought to Vienna as a chorister. It is said he sang at the funeral of Vivaldi.

“James Bartlett is the new head of music at Christ’s Hospital School, known for its excellent musical teaching.

"He is an experienced conductor, professional singer and a director at the National Youth Musical Theatre. He has a fun style of teaching and gets the best sounds out of people, one of the reasons choir members are looking forward to this masterclass! Accompanying the singers is Jonathan Lee, organist at the school and accompanist for the Choral Society.”

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Esther added: “The workshop is open to all singers whether they have sung this piece before or not. Tickets are £20, there will be tea and coffee at the 10.30 welcome and in the afternoon break. The day will focus on the major choruses and is expected to end around 16.30 after the sing-through of the work.”

The workshop is in Christ’s Hospital Big School, Horsham, RH13 0LJ on May 4, 10.30 for 11.00-16.30. For any further information and booking your place, see

The choral society was originally one of several choirs at Christ's Hospital (or CH as it is often known) and comprised mainly pupils (boys), staff both academic and administrative, Old Blues, parents and a few others with connections to the school. It was led by the musical director who in 1980 was Malcom Mckelvey and performed at the school concert in November which was part choir and part orchestral. In 1982 the choir gave a performance of The Messiah.

In 1985 Peter Allwood became musical director and he began rehearsing pupils and adults separately, both on a Thursday evening. John Shippen who taught geography became the accompanist and a small committee was formed to organise concerts etc to relieve Peter of that burden. Later on CH decided to extend its musical outreach to the community. Tim Callaghan (head of strings) formed a children’s orchestra, Peter and his wife Ros together with Cynthia Maddren formed the Horsham Children’s choir and CHCS expanded to become a community choir with paid conductor and accompanist.